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Strategic Marketing for Rural Hospitals

In today’s competitive healthcare market, rural and community hospitals are making do with less. Marketing resources are no exception. It’s not uncommon for smaller hospitals to lack a formal marketing communications function yet still engage in conventional and creative marketing activities. At other hospitals, marketing is one of multiple hats worn by a single person. Case in point: The public relations coordinator who handles marketing for Yoakum Community Hospital—a 23-bed critical access hospital in Yoakum, Texas—also serves as executive assistant and medical staff coordinator, for a total of three formal...


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Lessons for Leaders of Distressed Hospitals

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By Anthony Sudduth, CEO, Southwest Health System

Last year, Southwest Health System (SHS), in Cortez, Colorado, found itself in the midst of a significant financial crisis. The hospital had violated bond covenants associated with a $32 million building project, failing to meet the 80 days cash-on-hand requirement for four consecutive quarters. This violation triggered technical default, which could have led to bankruptcy and closure. Instead, SHS acted swiftly and decisively, becoming not a cautionary tale but a comeback story and an inspiration.

The SHS turnaround is a bright...


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Community Hospital 2.0

For years, community hospitals have been in crisis, with limited control over their situation. Could the next move be bold innovation? This white paper maps out possible paths forward including sustainable models of operation.

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John Yeary, CEO, Freestone Medical Center

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Service Isn’t Seasonal: Give Back to the Community All Year Round

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By John Yeary, CEO, Freestone Medical Center

The holidays are a time for giving and gathering. However, for hospitals, community involvement and giving back should be year-round priorities. This is especially true for hospitals serving small, tight-knit communities.

The CEO should set the example. For my part, as chief executive of Freestone Medical Center in Fairfield, Texas, I started simply by joining the Rotary Club. I’ve since found that each connection I make tends to create others, developing synergies that benefit both the hospital and the community. The...


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Will Community Hospitals Stand the Test of Time?

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Will Your Hospital Stand the Test of Time?

Rural Hospitals Must Take Action to Right Themselves

Time is of the essence for community and rural hospitals. Since 2010, 88 of them have shut down, with more closures to come. Immediate action is required to help others avoid the same fate. Employees, patients and rural communities depend on it.

An operational assessment is often the first step to improving a hospital’s prospects. This process evaluates strategy, operations, staffing, supply chain, revenue cycle and leadership with the aim of reducing costs and increasing revenue—the tried-and-true formula for financial solvency.

Operational...


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Community Hospitals Are Economic Engines. How Are You Fueling Yours?

Metaphors commonly used to describe community hospitals underscore their importance to the regions they serve. They’ve been called economic engines, cornerstones of the community, and, by Forbes, the “financial glue” that holds communities together. Community hospitals tend to be one of the top employers in town, so when one closes, there are more consequences than traveling farther for hospital care.

Still, community hospitals are closing at a dispiriting rate—87 shut down in 26 states from January 2010 to July 2018, according to the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program. Countless...


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Rural Matters Podcast Features Karen Barber & Jim Kendrick

Rural Matters, a podcast featuring issues important to Rural America, recently spoke to Karen Barber, CEO of Yoakum Community Hospital, a 25-bed critical access hospital in Texas, and Jim Kendrick, president and CEO of Community Hospital Corporation, a non-profit whose mission for 22 years has been sustaining healthcare in rural markets.

Kendrick shared that it is often difficult to recruit enough physicians to serve the community. Barber explained that her facility recently had to close their labor and delivery department as a result of an aging population, low volume for deliveries,...


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Rural America Needs Critical Access Hospitals

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Rural America Needs Critical Access Hospitals

By guest author Paul Lee, Senior Partner & Founder, Strategic Health Care

National policy in support of rural healthcare has been lacking for more than a decade. Critical access hospitals (CAHs), in particular, are struggling due to inattention at the federal level.

While the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) last month released its first strategy to improve healthcare in rural America, the eight-page document did not include specific policies. It states that CMS will “apply a rural lens to CMS programs and policies,” but whether this translates into...


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Power in Partnership?

Community hospitals are evaluating partnerships as a path to financial viability. This white paper provides a roadmap to consider the pros and cons for your hospital.

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Is Your Community Hospital Heading for Trouble?

Community hospitals across the country are facing operational challenges. This white paper outlines critical steps to turnaround your hospital performance.

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